Modi govt in 'departure lounge': Anand Sharma

Modi govt in 'departure lounge': Anand Sharma

Sharma also accused Modi of lowering the political discourse, saying his language was "full of bitterness and violence". PTI File photo

In a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Thursday said his government was in the "departure lounge" and that its time to "threaten and mislead" people was over.

Sharma also accused Modi of lowering the political discourse, saying his language was "full of bitterness and violence".

He was in the city to launch the Congress' manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

"The Modi government is in the departure lounge. Its time to threaten and mislead people is over. He considers his political rivals as his personal enemies. We don't want to engage in conversation by stooping to that level," Sharma told reporters here.

He was responding to a question on prime minister's criticism of the Congress' manifesto during his rally in Maharashtra's Gondia district on Wednesday.

Sharma said Modi was not speaking about what he promised in 2014 and if he fulfilled it. "Instead, he is talking about sending his opponents to jail. It doesn't take five years to send people to jail," he taunted.

The former Union minister said Modi must talk about his "non-performance" and how be "betrayed" the people.

"The Congress doesn't need a certificate of nationalism and patriotism from the BJP, whose ideology supported the British and not Mahatma Gandhi, (former prime minister) Jawaharlal Nehru and (India's first Home minister) Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel during the Independence movement," he alleged.

Referring to criticism of the Congress's promise to scrap the sedition law and review the Armed Forces (Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Sharma said his party has "zero tolerance against terrorism" and that it was committed to strengthening the national and internal security.

He claimed there were demands to scrap the sedition law which, he said, was of the pre-Independence era.

"During the (previous) UPA rule, a record number of tourists travelled to Kashmir. What happened in the last five years (of NDA government) is for everyone to see," he said.

Asked about doubts being raised over feasibility of the Congress' ambitious NYAY scheme, Sharma said India was a USD 2 trillion economy in 2014.

"There is money in the country. We will generate more wealth and re-distribute it. The Congress has better minds for fiscal management. We can give 1.5 per cent of the GDP for the poor," he said.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi last month said if voted to power, his party would bring the 'Nyuntam Aay Yojana' (NYAY), a minimum income guarantee scheme, assuring up to Rs 72,000 a year or Rs 6,000 a month income to 20 per cent of India's poorest families.